Nominet CISO Stress Report Press Release – Nominet Cyber

CISO’s say they’d give up £7.5k ($10k) of salary for a better work-life balance, while 97% of the board says they want CISOs to deliver even more value

Nominet[1] has published The CISO Stress Report – Life Inside the Perimeter: One Year On[2], on the working life of the CISO. This year’s report looks deeper at the impact of continued stress on the mental health and personal lives of CISOs, and drills down into the causes of stress including poor work life balance and a lack of support from the board. Nominet interviewed 400 CISOs and 400 C-Suite executives on the challenges of the CISOs role – with an even split between the UK and the US.

Work stress is impacting CISO health and damaging relationships

The research found that the vast majority of CISOs (88%) remain moderately or tremendously stressed, a small decrease from 91% in 2019. However, this stress is now taking a greater toll on CISOs’ mental and physical health, and their personal relationships.

Key findings:

  • 48% of CISOs said work stress has had a detrimental impact on their mental health, almost twice as high as last year (27%). 31% also reported that their stress had impacted their physical health.
  • 40% of CISOs said that their stress levels had affected their relationships with their partners or children
  • 32% said that their stress levels had repercussions on their marriage or romantic relationships and 32% said that their stress levels had affected their personal friendships
  • The number of CISOs turning to medication or alcohol has increased by a quarter year on year, from 17% in 2019 to 23% in 2020

This personal impact is also having negative effects for organisations, with (31%) of CISOs saying that stress had affected their ability to do their job, 2% more than in 2019. This results in a high rate of burnout, with the survey reporting that the average tenure of a CISO is just over two years (26 months).

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet: “We are potentially heading towards a burnout crisis if the very people who we are relying on to keep businesses secure are operating under mounting pressure. CISO stress is on the rise – with almost 90% moderately or tremendously affected – and it’s taking a greater toll on their personal lives and well-being.Not only is this harming the lives of CISOs but it will ultimately make it harder to retain staff, catch attacks early and improve security.It is worrying that at board level, understanding of these pressures appears not to have translated into action.”

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